Monday, 8 August 2016

First Impressions: Marvel Heroes 2016

Avengers Assemble! Fantastic Four Form Up! S.H.I.E.L.D. Summon! X-Men Extricate Yourselves Over Here! Defenders Definitely Will Turn Up Eventually!

For my first clickfest, sorry, ARPG (Evoland's Diablo section not included) I have started Marvel Heroes 2016. And I am having a marvellous time.

Marvel Heroes 2016 is an ARPG full to the brim with superheroes and villains (58 playable ones, 21 team-up ones and a bunch of NPCs) as well as hordes of loot and abilities. You can play as any of the characters right from the start (except Ultron and Elektra - the newest heroes) and all the way up to level 10 so don't worry about having to choose between your favourites without having a good look at their powers first. I have so far played as, and gotten to level 10, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Taskmaster, Squirrel Girl, Iron Fist and Storm and am pleased to say that they all play very differently, after you level them up a bit at least. For example, I found Vision very useful for pushing through groups of enemies; Scarlet Witch has brilliant AoE DoT; Taskmaster has a very varied fighting style to keep in with his photographic reflexes/mimicry powers; Squirrel Girl harasses everything with an army of squirrels; Iron Fist hits hard and has some interesting variability thanks to his stances and Storm is worthy of her goddess rank with the ability to upgrade her lighting powers so that she is literally the eye of a raging storm. My only problem is that, now that I've played as a few characters, I quite want to carry on with the story and unlock other gameplay elements. However, I can only do this if I choose a character to unlock fully, allowing me to get to level 60, (well, technically, I can continue with the story anyway but I'd waste an awful lot of exp and would probably get thrashed fairly quickly). Damn you decision making!

Later on, you can unlock every single character, by collecting Eternity Shards (fairly common items that spawn about every eight minutes of play time, assuming you're bringing your might to the enemy of course). The other things you'll be collecting are gear (and lots of it, let me tell you), which increases your stats, powers and gives you various buffs, as well as the aforementioned exp which will level you up (as per usual), allowing you to gain Power Points (two per level). These Power Points go into your tech tree allowing you to gain all sorts of superpowers and passive buffs such as a Solar Flare ability for Vision that blasts all enemies in front of you into smithereens or Chained Lightning for Storm that decimates gangs and armies alike. You'll also pick up gear and boosts from daily rewards (which stretch into the thousands before settling on the normal 'random item repeats' that most daily reward systems depend on) as well as from players just carelessly casting level 60 cosmic items onto the floor. And this is where my one major problem with the game lies - you only have so much inventory space and the S.T.A.S.H. is quickly filled as well resulting in you having to either purchase more space with real money or sell/donate all of your hard-earned gear to the various vendors (with selling earning you credits and donating leveling up the vendor so that they will gain rarer items for you to buy/craft/enchant).

But, don't you worry, there's more than enough content for you to hero/villain your way through. I've only had a cursory glance at the story so far, for the aforementioned reason, but it's looking great so far with a superb opening looking at the entire Marvel Universe from The Watcher's point of view as well as great comedic dialog/voice acting (both in the comic book-esque story clips and from random interaction between/remarks by characters - rather like in Overwatch). It's especially good as I can see all of the Marvel team-ups that the films don't allow (and, yes, I know I can read the comic books and I might have to once I've finished this!). In addition to the story, I've had a go at the Midtown Manhattan Patrol which basically involves being unleashed onto the streets to have a go at destroying as many Marvel supervillains (brilliantly satisfying if you succeed) and various demons, gang members and robots as possible. And if you don't want the difficulty attributed to these Patrols but still want to defeat loads of enemies, then you can just wander around Hells Kitchen, beating up gang members and completing events (such as defeating Shocker or stopping the arsonists from getting away). I've also unlocked Holo-Sim Training as well as various side-quests which I'll check out soon.

Furthermore, you can also gain team-up heroes such as the Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Quicksilver who follow you around, granting you various buffs, damaging enemies, giving you, thankfully, another inventory and yet more levelling up to do and gear to collect. The final major thing that I've seen that you can collect are costumes, including ones that completely overhaul the character's graphics, animation, voice-acting and, well, character (such as turning Thor into Beta-Ray-Bill). However, they do seem to be extraordinarily rare so I'm not putting much effort into collecting them at the moment.

Finally, while the graphics are just about alright, the music more than makes up for it with a very Hollywood-something-absolutely-epic-is-about-to-happen feel to it. However, ultimately, it is the sense of progression and the feeling that 'if I just do this then it will get even better' that keeps me coming back to the game over and over again. Well then, I think it's time to level up another hero (or perhaps a villain?)

Goodbye for now, Harry 

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